FGSC Calls on Senate to Address Funding for Public Schools, Charter Facilities
AUSTIN, TEXAS (March 15, 2017)—The following statement on the Senate’s budget proposal for Texas public schools should be attributed to Dr. Guy Sconzo, Executive Director of the Fast Growth School Coalition:
“The Texas Senate is shortchanging Texas public schools and charter schools with draconian cuts to state funding for facilities. Schools that shoulder the tremendous growth and influx of new students are hit especially hard as they try to make do with their already lean local budgets.
“Seventy-nine percent of the new students entering Texas schools these past five years reside in just 75 of over 1,000 school districts, and most of these fast growth districts receive little or no state funding for facilities, placing an increased burden on local taxpayers to build classroom space and facilities to accommodate the influx of new students.
“Under the current proposal by the Texas Senate, fast growth school districts will see the New Instructional Facilities Allotment (NIFA) gutted. Take Cypress Fairbanks ISD which will lose $1,098,000 from the state, Dripping Springs ISD with a $371,213 reduction, Klein ISD decreased by $975,000 and Katy ISD hit with a $1,396,000 cut. The operating cost for new instructional facilities remain, so it will be local taxpayers having to pay the bill.**
“Additionally, the Senate has eliminated all new funding for a similarly named program, the Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) that helps buy down facilities debt in property poor school districts. Without these funds, it is — once again — local taxpayers who will foot the bill.
“The Texas Legislature has a constitutional obligation to provide adequate resources for our Texas school children. This current proposal falls woefully short. We’re hopeful that Senate and House leaders can come together to do what’s right for Texas schools and taxpayers.
“The price of failure is too great. By defunding these important programs, legislators are choosing overcrowded classrooms and higher tax bills for local taxpayers.”
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** For a look at how the Senate proposal impacts facilities funding for other fast growth school districts in Texas, http://www.fastgrowthtexas.org/nifa-senate.
Media contact: Jennifer Harris, 512-773-7168 or jharris (at) jwhcommunications (dot) com.